At the corner of Instagram and Vine

A few months ago, a little mobile app known as Vine launched, and then shortly thereafter, Twitter bought it, and it became the next big thing in social video. Just as Twitter is to blogging, Vine is to video – which is to say, micro, abbreviated, short. Vine videos are no longer than 6 seconds, and use stop-gap animation. Those 6 seconds can be played on a loop – over, and over, and over again. With Twitter’s backing and now with iOS and Android options, Vines are popping up everywhere.

Surely, in an effort to compete, this past week, Instagram (now owned by Facebook) released a video feature on their platform as well. Instagram videos have filters, just as Instagram photos, and these videos can be up to 15 seconds long. Just like with Vines, you can share these videos to your social networks, although Instagram is connected to more social networks than Vine at the moment.

New apps are fun to try out. Especially ones that allow people to capture life’s little moments (doesn’t everyone want to see what I had for lunch?) and life’s big moments (surely everyone wants to see every photo of my niece’s first day of life. Right?). The desire to freeze-frame life and then be able to replay it is what Kodak and Polariod the kingpins of their time, and is making GoPro cameras and YouTube such a sensation. People instagram everything – to the point where “instagram” has entered the vernacular as a verb. So it’s no surprise that people are jumping on the Vine-wagon, and the Instagram-video-wagon. Some will stay on both, others will give it a while and then move on to the next shiny stone.

But what about brands? Do Instagram video and Vine mean anything for them? This is the question we ask ourselves everything a new social network, or even a new feature of a social network, comes on the scene – and they seem to come on the scene more frequently now than ever. These could both be of good use to brands, if the brands take the time to develop a smart strategy that’s meaningful to their consumers.

Take Lowe’s for example. Lowe’s has claimed the hashtag #fixitinsix – referring to the 6-second limit of Vine videos – and has created a number of helpful quick fix-it tips. Simple things, like how to keep ants out of your kid’s sandbox (cinnamon!) and how to remove a broken light bulb (potato).

GE, which has tended to be one of the more active brands on social media (check out their robust Pinterest page) has Vines about their products, innovations, robots (who doesn’t love a good robot?), as well as a whole series under the hashtag #6secondscience.

Techcrunch article here. Then get out your smartphone, download both apps, and try them out for yourself. You might find yourself addicted (as some of us here have!) to the 6-second looping video.